Saturday, November 28, 2009

Merry Christmas from Shepherd's Bush!!!

Merry Christmas from
Tina, Lynnette, Sue, Chryl

Nancy, Sophie, Teri, Jillian, Kari
Elisabeth, Kristin and Reed

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Week, 2009

Dear friends,
I woke up one morning this week, and Winter had arrived outside my bedroom window. Perhaps it was Sunday, the only day I don't stumble up in the dark, or perhaps it was the slightly heavier than a dust of snow on my back lawn, but I thought somewhat sadly that Autumn had left us behind. Ogden still wants to pretend that it is fall, and the sun is trying valiantly to fool us with its weak resplendence, but nope, I'm just not buying it--it's winter. I can tell by the sudden burst of light in my bedroom where the windows are no longer sheltered by cheerful ivy and maple leaves, I can tell by my shivers--and groans from a sleeping Bob--if I climb into bed too long after the heat has shut off for the night, I can tell by my Christian's frozen swimmer's hair as he dashes home at dusk. Ugh...I guess I've turned old because I find myself dreading the thoughts of the icy season ahead. We've had several good snow storms already this year, but this week I noticed that the leaves are gone--victims of the rake, the mower, and the wind, and the trees which seemingly yesterday provided a verdant cave around my home are bare and scratchy leaving us open to the world around us. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily take any sunny, warmish days the earth wants to offer up, but I shan't be fooled, and I know I must shortly give up my flip-flops.
Wow, here we are at Thanksgiving, and I think we all must wonder where this year has gone. We have been busy here at the shop getting ready for our Christmas Open House which always falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Teri and the girls in front have been busily working all month towards this as they lovingly put away the Halloween pictures and bring out the Christmas ones. If you are nearby, don't forget to come by on Saturday, November 28th between 11:00 and 4:00 and have a bit of fun with all of us. We have lots of new things stitched which you will love, we will be completely decked out for the Advent season, and we have prepared fabulous treats to serve for the day. So if you are in the mood for home-made mint brownies, scrumptious date crispies, crunchy English toffee, creamy, chocolatey fudge, and Teri's famously delicious egg nog, you must drop by. Yumm! Of course it is supposed to snow, but won't that just make it ever the more festive. Oh--I am trying a new artichoke dip recipe, so you won't want to miss that. (OK, perhaps you will.) There should be lots of fun for all, so don't miss it. Plus-- we have very cool gifts and ornaments for Christmas. Those of you who were lucky enough to get some of the Halloween figurines that we had, we absolutely love the Christmas ones that are waiting. See you then!
One of the fun new things we will have is a book and kit by Shepherd's Bush. Santa's Coming is a sweet leaflet that will work up very quickly for you. If you need a quick gift, this would be perfect. I think that the santa face button is darling as well.

Then a new 10 count kit of Teri's is Seek and Ye Shall Find. Ok, I confess, I might have the name wrong and I am not sure she has a picture ready for this blog--but it is very special. It shows a little Bethlehem village with the stable, star and grazing sheep. I know you will love it, and it will also work up very quickly.

Ok, we finally have Lizzie Kate's Letter By Letter Christmas sampler finished and framed. Isn't it fabulous! We have a wonderful button set available if you are in the mood. I think that Jill did a lovely job on the frame. It suits it perfectly.

Another darling piece which we just finished and framed is Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. This is a sweet piece that would work up quite quickly, and I think that the cool green fabric which Teri chose is quite stunning. If you think you don't have time for a new project, I think this would be a pleasant surprise.
Oh and you cannot miss one of Prairie Schooler's new pieces: Santa in a sleigh--Christmas Eve. As always, Teri just has a knack for choosing the perfect threads and fabric for these projects and in the end it is quite wonderful. What do you think? Of course by the time Jill adds her finishing touch, we all want to just take it home with us. So, if you are in the mood for a piece to enjoy for many years, come and take a look at this one.

I love to stitch for Christmas, but I am never really in the mood until the first snow has arrived. So I guess I am sort of toast for doing projects for the coming Christmas. Thus, I always have to choose either smaller pieces that I can get done in a month, or work on something for the next year. This year's pick for me is Miss Snow Fairy. I think I might be safe with this one, because it is more of a snowman so I could use it in January and February. Anyway, she is so unusual and sweet, you are sure to fall in love with her. We have tweaked the colours a bit, and I love her so much. I have to get busy.

I have to go. People are whining that I am not helping. So have a truly wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with plenty of turkey and pie to go around. And....hopefully I will see some of you on Saturday. hugs--Tina

Monday, November 9, 2009

November 4th, 2009
Box Paintin' Blues
Hi friends,
I'm back. I know it is hard to believe, but I really am back. I think I wrote you last just as I was leaving for market the middle of September since then we have been to St. Charles and back, celebrated our shop's 25th birthday--complete with homemade ice cream, cake, and new t-shirts--been to Virginia Beach and back, battled a semi-losing battle with a leaky roof and painted hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of black boxes. All in all this has been a funny fall. Market was wonderful. We took a Mrs. Backers cake on the plane with us and were laughing our heads off the whole time. Teri had a framed model for Holy Night which was too big for our completely giant suitcase that she was trying to juggle on board and stash, and I had my lovely cake box which actually worked out pretty well. And the best part was that we had lots of cake for lots of people. We were crazy busy during the market and loved chit-chatting with tons of friends. However, because of the chit-chat we didn't really get a lot of sleep.

We returned home Monday and on Tuesday we had a birthday open house all day for our 25th birthday. If I had not been on some kind of life roller coaster, I might have waxed nostalgic. It is hard for me to believe that we have had the shop for 25 years. Teri and I were just kids then--not that we thought we were. She had just finished college and I was just back from grad school when we embarked on this singular adventure which included renovating a hundred-year-old building. We opened our doors with almost nothing in the shop and had a big party to celebrate. It was fun and scary. I nearly gave myself an ulcer with the worry of the venture and Teri never even looked back. What amazing times we've had here, and truly how quickly the years have gone by. And through it all, what wonderful customers we have met and befriended during this time. what wonderful friends we have been lucky enough to work with throughout the years. Blessings.

From there, we packed our things for Pat and Ann's retreat in Virginia Beach and flew out on Thursday. We had a great time there with Charland and Sydney, Jeanette Douglas. Barb and Alma. All of the women at the retreat were darling and great stitchers and it was such a pleasure meeting old friends and new. I know that I am a mountain girl at heart, but there is something about the ocean that just stirs the soul. We walked the beach hundreds of times and laughed until I thought I had cracked my ribs. The weather was perfect with plenty of sand and sunshine. We designed a little sampler called The Journey as well as a sweet pin cushion to match, and Teri showed everyone how to make a very clever acorn pin keep. I hope that everyone in our class liked it. We had a great time getting it all together, and plan to release it next summer. Watch for it.

October has been totally swamped at work. Everyone has been excited to be stitching for Halloween. Between dealing with the roof--which my boys and the girls here at the shop heroically fended off rivers of water while we were gone-- and shipping market orders, the month has flown by. When we designed our little Halloween box, Here We Go a Haunting, we painted like insane people to get plenty of them painted. Well, they were gone within the first few minutes of the market and we took many more orders. That's where the Box Paintin' Blues comes in. That is pretty much all we have done at night for weeks. My family thinks we are insane, but I have to say that it became rather therapeutic the more that we painted. You sort of enter a zen-like mode and it restores your soul as you paint. One Sunday evening while we were painting, my boys wandered through with guitar and harmonica and jammed for us. It was really quite beautiful, and I am always amazed that they can just improvise together on 2 different instruments and make it sound so perfect. Unfortunately the rest of the nights, we have had to revisit hundreds of hours of Jane Austen.
OK, I know that this is way more than you really wanted to hear. I promise to return next week and show you all the things Teri has done in the shop. Sadly, Halloween is down and Thanksgiving and Christmas are going up. We have some fabulous things to show you and I will hurry along. Just one little teaser of what is in store comes from Ruth Merrill. Her Thomas is so fabulous. And this is just the beginning.

One more thing before I go. Our website has experienced a tragic crash which has caused its demise. So---eventually we will be completely re-doing it. In the meantime it is still there with lots and lots to look at. But if you are wondering why we haven't updated it since summer, it is because we can't. So just be patient and enjoy it as it is and click on our Blog to keep updated on everything. I promise, I won't let you down.

Until next week--ever fondly, Tina